The best Airbnb hosts aim to make their places feel like your home away from home, so you should treat it that way. Unfortunately, that's not always the case.
I've been renting out my home for the past year, and a few common guest habits get under my skin.
I've been renting out my home while I travel for the past year and just received "Superhost" status, which means the majority of my guests have had positive experiences. And overall, I've been pleasantly surprised by how friendly and responsible my guests have been. Still, sometimes a few common guest habits get under my skin. If you want to keep your guest profile positive, you'd be smart to avoid these bad habits. Unlike hotels, guests on Airbnb get reviewed, too. And hosts might consider them when deciding whether or not to approve you for your stay.
I recently chatted with fellow Superhost Sara Combs to compare our pet peeves. Combs rents out beautiful spaces in Joshua Tree, CA, and loves being an Airbnb host. But thanks to two years doing it, she also has some helpful insight for guests trying to make the best impression. Check out our list of seven things that drive an Airbnb host crazy, as well as one thing you can do to really impress them.
1. Disrespecting the Neighbors or the Surroundings
As a host, one of the biggest challenges I've had is making sure my guests don't disturb my downstairs neighbors. I try to handle this by leaving a sign by my front door asking people to remove their shoes and reminding guests when they check in to be mindful of the noise. So when I get a text from my neighbors at 2 a.m. asking for my guests to turn down their music, my heart sinks.
"Airbnb offers an amazing opportunity to travel and feel like a local," Combs points out. With that in mind, you should be mindful of the locals you may interact with. "It's especially important to respect neighbors and sound levels, as well as leaving the local environment the same or better than how you found it."
2. Failing to Read Check-in Instructions and Other Information
Hosts put a lot of time into writing and updating their instruction manuals for their guests and do their best to make check-in smooth. Sometimes guests miss the memo. I'll never forget the guest who showed up at my place at 2 a.m. and simply called my cell phone to tell me she was at my front door ready to be let in. Never mind the fact that my front door has a keypad lock and I had sent the codes earlier that week. My guest hadn't even bothered to read my basic check-in message.
On the flip side, it makes a great impression when you do take the time to read what a host has put together for you, as Combs explains: "We're incredibly appreciative when guests do read the details of our listing or our check-in email before asking questions. We're always happy to answer questions, but guests make us feel particularly respected when they read what we've taken the time to send them first."
3. Waiting Until the Review to Complain About Fixable Issues
While hosts hope you read their instructions before contacting them, they also want you to know the lines of communication are open. It's not fun to read a critique in a review when you know you could have easily resolved it and improved your guest's stay. For example, I had one guest complain in the review that I only provided one towel per person. While that seemed reasonable to me for a four-day stay, I would have happily let her know where she could find more towels if she had asked me when she arrived. The best guests let us know if there's something they want or need, and we can almost always accommodate their request. Don't be shy!
4. Breaking the House Rules
Airbnb hosts think hard about house rules, which may include a ban on smoking, events, or even young children staying in the home. Since they are clearly visible on the listing description and right before you book your stay, there is really no excuse for violating them.
5. Misleading Your Host About What You Plan to Do With the Space
"We've noticed a recent trend of bookings that mention just relaxing with friends, and upon check-in a whole crew arrives for a photo shoot," Combs says. She finds it frustrating when companies view her Airbnb listings as free locations to promote their goods. "We really appreciate honesty about true intentions for a booking," she continues, "and do offer a reasonable location fee for those looking to use the house for profit."
I love when guests are completely transparent with me. I've had one who told me she planned to host Thanksgiving dinner in my place, which was totally fine, but also good to know in case any issues came up with noise. If you plan to use a rented Airbnb for something other than sleeping, relaxing, and eating meals with other registered guests, you should tell your host before you book.
6. Lying About the Number of Guests
Some hosts have an additional charges for extra guests. So don't be sneaky and mark only four guests when you really plan on having five. If you do, the host might not be prepared for additional laundry or cleaning that comes with extra guests. Also, if something comes up and a friend has to crash, just let your host know. They'll appreciate it.
7. Expecting 24/7 Hotel-Level Service
There's no denying that hotels offer more service. You can have a concierge make reservations for you, expect your room to be cleaned each day, call the front desk if a neighbor is making too much noise, and get help carrying your bags up to your room. When you're staying at an Airbnb, you trade some of those comforts for a more authentic experience. But that means you may have to deal with the realities of living in your own place, like buying toilet paper if it runs out and researching logistics on your own. It can be frustrating as a host when a "needy" guest contacts you constantly about things they could Google themselves or expects you to make very specific things materialize. Let's just say it drives hosts crazy when you call them after 11 p.m. to ask how the washing machine works when you could read it in their house manual.
One tip to make it feel more like a hotel: if you're staying for more than a week, ask your host if they might be able to arrange a cleaning for you midstay. They might even throw it in free of charge.
The One Thing They Love: When You Leave a Personal Touch
"We've had so many wonderful guests over the years and have even become great friends with some of them," says Combs. Her mind is always blown when guests leave a gift, which may include a bottle of wine, a chocolate bar from their country, or a drawing they did while at the house. In my experience, I've also noticed the best guests will try to connect on a personal level, either asking where I bought a piece of furniture they loved or letting me know they enjoyed a tourist recommendation I made. That feels like the best of Airbnb: only good surprises.